Jeffrey Gurian is a writer and comedian in New York who loves to Jump Around. Follow his regular column, right here, to find out what’s happening each week in comedy, and who Jeffrey Gurian ran into this week in and around New York. This week, continuing updates all week from the best shows at the New York Comedy Festival. On Thursday night, Jeffrey hit up Sasheer Zamata’s Party Time, Don’t Get Gassed, and the New York Comedy Festival Party!
Well, it was more like a day and night of pole-vaulting than jumping around. Tonight I started off at Sasheer Zamata’s Party Time show at UCB Chelsea. Sasheer Zamata is always fun to watch and she has a smile that lights up the room! I love when she explains how she got her name. It’s not some cool African name. Her parents were Trekkies and her name came from an episode of Star Trek. I stayed long enough to see her set, a short film called Barista, by her friend Chioke Nassor, a set by Nicole Byer from Girl Code, and a set by a UCB performer named Amber Nelson who took great pride in telling the audience how disgusting she is, and then did material to prove it. I think the audience was convinced by the end of her set!
Then I jumped over to Carolines to see Cipha Sounds 7 year anniversary show of Don’t Get Gassed. And I stayed long enough to see Cipha, Brooklyn Mike Troy, who was killing it, my boy Dante Nero co-host of The Beige Phillip Show, and Kali a female comic I knew from before she was a comic. When I first met her she was kind of new from the DR, and told me she wanted to do comedy, and now she’s on a big show at Carolines as part of the NYCF.
Dante is so huge and imposing, and the audience loves it when he says, “I know, … you’re thinking what’s the bouncer doing on stage!” Dante and I always had fun doing The Black Phillip Show with the great Patrice O’Neal, in the old XM studios on West 57th Street. I still get e-mails from people who loved the show and listen to it on the internet.
But the big event of the night was the huge NY Comedy Festival Party at The Empire Hotel on West 63rd. I’m writing this column at 3:30 A.M. because when I managed to drag myself out at 3, I left with Yannis Pappas, Paul Virzi and JoAnn Grigioni, the head of talent at Comedy Central, drove them for a nightcap, and came home to write this column. JoAnn is so great and so much fun to be around and she was there with her friend and counterpart in “Talent” at Comedy Central Anne Harris, who it’s also always great to see.
Lots of comedy execs were there and I spent a while talking with Abbey Robertson from the LA office of Apostle, who’s working with Joe List, Luis J. Gomez, Gary Vider, and Mike Vecchione, to name just a few. All so funny! The party was amazing as you might expect. The place was huge with two outside areas and because the weather was so mild, lots of people hung outside as well. Especially the smoking crowd. Everyone was eating mini burgers and fries and of course, taking selfies all night.
Almost as soon as I got there I ran into Robin Montague who when she’s not performing herself, writes material for Kim Coles and Sherri Shepherd. She hosted two sold out shows at the festival called The Women of Comedy. It was held at Le Poisson Rouge, and included Bonnie MacFarlane, who is one of my faves, and Sasheer Zamata, who is also very special to me. Just before she got SNL she appeared in my documentary, The Business of Comedy and came to my place to film her segment. It was very special, and shortly afterwards she got SNL. But back to Robin! On Nov. 12th a special that she worked on with Kim Coles will be aired on Bounce TV. She and Kim worked exclusively together for two months preparing for it, and I’m sure it’s gonna be great.
Some of the people in attendance around the party were Gilbert Gottfried leading his wife Dara through the crowd, Todd Barry, Ari Shaffir, Mike Lawrence, Marina Franklin, who I believe was also on the Women of Comedy Show, and Louis Katz. I also saw Adrienne Iapallucci, Michelle Wolf, and Ricky Velez who’s one of the new faces to watch, or new people to keep an eye on, whatever they’re calling that these days.
I ran into half the cast of Ha! The Musical, Gibran Saleem, Bill Dawes, Alyse Kenny and Charles McBee, because they now tend to travel as a group. I told them I’m coming to see them on Saturday night because I am, and straight from there I’m running with Big Jay Oakerson down to see what will be left of Jeffrey Ross’s Roast Battle because that is a show not to be missed.
Jeffrey asked if I was coming and I explained to him that I promised Rick Newman I’d come down to see the show, that has been getting such a huge buzz, and Saturday night was the only night I could make it, so Jeffrey was kind enough to tell me to call him tomorrow and he’ll hook it up for me so I can arrive late. He really looks great with a shaved head. Not everyone does, but he makes it work!
Jeffrey Ross was in the best mood I’ve seen him in for a while the entire night. He walked around smiling and happy, mingling with people most of hte time wearing his hat. Once in a while he took it off to show his completely shaved head. He accommodated everyone who wanted a photo with him.
I was so happy to see Hasan Minhaj who is the new correspondent on The Daily Show and starts this week. He told me he was a New York resident as of about two hours before. I met Hasan in Montreal this past summer when he was nice enough to come and say “hi”, because we have lots of mutual friends in LA. He’s really funny and a great guy, and he will be a super addition to the New York comedy scene. Big New York welcome to Hasan!
Then Adam Ray came in, who killed it on Adam Devine’s House Party, and is just a funny dude, and he was with Brent Morin from NBC’s Undateable, (who I last saw when I did a Vine video with his co-star Rick Glassman). They were with actor David Sullivan who was in Argo, and was in a film that won at Sundance called Primer!
One of the guys who was having the best time was Adam Newman. Adam pulled me into about 50 selfies together with every hot girl at the party. I don’t use my iPhone, I use my old-school digital camera cause I need photos that aren’t pixelated, but all the comics make fun of me for using a real camera, … until they see the difference. I tell them I keep it in my fanny pack along with my beeper and my 8 track tape player! Adam was in four shows at the festival and will be recording his 2nd comedy album for Rooftop Comedy almost as soon as the festival is over, at the Acme Comedy Club in Minneapolis. It’s called Adam Newman-Killed It and when I asked him why the Acme Comedy Club in Minneapolis, he said it was a good luck place for him. It’s where he taped his submission to do his half hour Comedy Central special, and it was accepted so he’s going back there again.
Nate Bargatze caused a huge stir when he came in, right after his sold out show at UCB East. I was standing with JoAnn Grigioni who was also in the best mood. Truth be told whenever I see her she’s in a good mood! She thanked me sincerely for supporting Comedy Central the way I do, and all of the Comedy Central people I ran into mentioned my Too Much Tuna sketch. But to this day, no one knows who’s responsible for the Comedy Central ad that went out for Kroll Show where somebody photoshopped my face over Jon Daly’s face. Nate got a warm, excited greeting from JoAnn, and he stayed for the rest of the night, hanging out a lot with Mark Normand who also stayed very late.
Dave Kimowitz of Cringe Hunor and co-owner of The Stand came over to make sure I knew about his new guy Crystian Ramirez, who it just so happens I saw do AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live and he was great. He’s only 24 and recently did Adam Devine’s House Party and was featured on Comedy Central’s Night Out. He said his Adam Devine episode was the second highest rated of the season.
Got some great tips while I was there in the midst of all the chaos resulting from the open bar! Comics can really drink! Yannis Pappas will be headlining Gotham Nov. 21-22, and Laugh Boston as well but even more important, he’s going to be in a famous friend’s Comedy Central pilot. He can’t say who or what yet but the famous friend is female, as is the producer and he and Dan Soder will be regulars. That sounds about right! He said he’ll tell me the rest as soon as he’s allowed.
Judah Friedlander made a fashionably late entrance and also stayed late. It’s always so great to see Judah, who insists on calling me “the best dresssed man in the business.” Ordinarliy that would be a compliment until you see how most of the other comics dress! I’ve seen homeless people dress better! Judah will be playing a character in a new Seth Macfarlane show on FOX coming out in March called Bordertown. It’s an animated show that Seth is Exec. Producing, and Judah will be a regular voice. When I asked him what kind of character he’d be playing he said, and I quote, “a fucking idiot!”. And that’s when I left with Yannis, Paul and JoAnn! What a night!
The party had cool music, mostly hip-hop but nobody danced. It wasn’t really a dancing crowd until about 3 A.M. when after I got photos of Nate Bargatze choking out Luis J. Gomez, who’s an MMA fighter btw, Luis J. Gomez danced up close behind me and he and I started to get down! And not one person got the photo of us dirty dancing together! We’re probably better off! And then a bunch of very young male comics did a kind of dance off on the step and repeat, dancing alone, all guys, not a girl in the group! And it was about that time that I split too, cause I almost forgot I had to write my column!
I’ll be back tomorrow with more news and updates from the New York Comedy Festival which continues through Sunday night. As always check out my weekly column Monday mornings on The Interrobang for more updates from the New York comedy scene, as I continue to jump around.
Pictured below from left to right Jeffrey and Jeffrey, Jeffrey and Hasan Minhaj, Jeffrey with Adam Newman and Michelle Wolf, Jeffrey with Dante Nero and Jeffrey with Luis J Gomez and Ricky Velez, Nate Bargatze and Luis J Gomez.